Over 120 people applied from all across the country. After some very impressive presentations we are delighted to announce the five who will join us as our first ever Young Curators. They are Luke Casserly (Longford), Martha Knight (Dublin), Aoife Nugent (Antrim), CN Smith (Louth), and Allie Whelan (Kildare).

These five Young Curators will attend work at various Irish festivals, starting with Cork Midsummer Festival. Together with our staff, the Young Curators will then programme a two week Young Curators’ Festival in 2019, work that will provoke our young and young at heart citizens.

Jen Coppinger, Head of Producing (New Work Development) at the Abbey Theatre, said:  “We have been hugely inspired by the vast amount of applications that we received and have thoroughly enjoyed reading each and every one, knowing the future of Irish theatre is in such safe hands. In choosing these five participants, we look forward to being challenged, excited and energised by their ideas and relish the opportunity to work with them on shaping the inaugural Young Curators’ Festival in 2019.”

If you’d like to invite the Young Curators to see your work, please contact young.curators@abbeytheatre.ie.

You can follow the project at #AbbeyYoungCurators.

About the Young Curators 

Luke Casserly, 22, Longford
Luke Casserly is a theatre-maker from Co. Longford, based in Dublin. Luke presented efficacy 84 at the Dublin Fringe Festival 2017 (Smock Alley Theatre, Black Box), an experimental piece examining the Kerry Babies Case from 1984 as well as the limitations of memory through theatrical form. Luke works as a freelance director, designer and performer, and was recently the recipient of the Pan Pan International Mentorship Bursary, where he developed a new piece looking at themes of authorship and connection in a corrupt and unstable society. Luke is also an alumnus of Youth Theatre Ireland. During his time with YTI, he was a cast member of the National Youth Theatre’s production of Gulliver’s Travels in 2013 and a member of the Young Critics’ Programme in 2012. Luke is excited to be a Young Curator, and is delighted to have the opportunity to see lots of new work across Ireland over the next year.

Martha Knight, 21, Dublin
Martha Knight is from Dublin and is a student of Drama Studies and Music at Trinity College Dublin. She is a founder of Freshly Ground Theatre, a theatre company based in Tallaght. Their work includes FRICTION (2017) and Curve (2018) in the Civic Theatre Tallaght. Freshly Ground’s work aims to address universal issues through the medium of contemporary devised theatre, while engaging with and involving its community. Martha is currently production managing their latest project, funded by an Incubation Award from Creative Ireland South Dublin. She recently performed in DU Players’ production of pool (no water) and advanced devising debut DROWN, both in the Samuel Beckett Theatre. She has taken part in two international devised theatre exchanges with students from New York in collaboration with Tallaght Community Arts. She also works as a freelance performer and facilitator. Martha is thrilled to be part of the Young Curators programme.

Aoife Nugent, 21, Antrim
Aoife Nugent is from Crumlin in County Antrim and will graduate from Ulster University with a BA Hons in Drama in July. Aoife took up dance at the age of 3 with Doogan Dance Academy, and her love for musical theatre led her to get involved in youth projects such as the Grand Opera House Summer Youth Project, and West End Stage in London. Studying at Magee, Aoife found a love of playwrighting, writing two plays that were performed in 2018 – Never Have I Ever and Woolly Tights. In her final Independent project, Aoife explored the use of dance within Irish theatre, creating a dance theatre performance called Banshee to portray a narrative through movement alone. Aoife is very happy to have been selected as a Young Curator, and cannot wait to get stuck into the year ahead.

CN Smith, 21, Louth
CN Smith is a theatre practitioner from Co. Louth, working as a performer, director, and writer. He has worked extensively with Droichead Youth Theatre in their creation of devised work, and served as both assistant director and director on a number of productions from 2014 – 2017. He has also worked as a facilitator of drama workshops with Prosper Fingal, assisting in their production of a performance of Oscar Wilde’s The Happy Prince. He recently completed his second year of Drama & Theatre Studies at Trinity College Dublin, where his in-development pieces Temporary and At the Very Beginning were recently performed as part of the 2018 Trinity Fringe Festival. His directing credits include XIV: Fourteen (Droichead Arts Centre, 2017), Setanta (Samuel Beckett Theatre, 2018), and Eden (Players Theatre, Rúin Festival, 2018). He is delighted to have the opportunity to be involved in the Young Curators Project.

Allie Whelan, 22, Kildare
Allie Whelan is a recent Trinity College Drama and Theatre Studies graduate from Newbridge Co. Kildare, where she is a member of Kildare Youth Theatre. Allie’s recent theatre credits include Costume Design for Chatroom directed by Caoilfhionn Crowley (Samuel Beckett Theatre), It’s A Puffin Classic directed by Grace Morgan (Samuel Beckett Theatre) and Jumpers For Goalposts directed by Jennifer Aust (Moyne Institute). She co-directed When I Was Six as part of Players Fringe Festival 2018 and directed pool (no water) for the Aurora Festival 2017 at the Samuel Beckett Theatre and the Granary Theatre, Cork, April 2018, which won Best Production and Best Ensemble at the 2018 Irish Student Drama Awards. Allie was the Festivals & Workshops co-ordinator of Trinity’s DU Players during her third year of college and is absolutely thrilled to be a part of the Young Curator’s Project and working on creating a festival again.